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Church schedule for April, 2020

 

Dear Friends in Christ,

Due to health concerns around the Coronovirus, we will not be holding services in person until further notice. 

Mid week Lent services and Bible Studies have also been cancelled.

Pastor Oatman and Debbie are providing a weekly service which is available through email or (since 3/29) on Youtube, search for GraceLCHayward .

You may also attend services virtually and 24/7 at Zion Lutheran Church at www.zionlutheran.net .

Lutheran Hour Ministries at www.lhm.org is another great resource.

Please keep us all in your prayers as we deal with the uncertainties of this pandemic. Keep washing your hands! Maintain “social distancing”!

God is ALWAYS with us, especially in times of trouble and remember HE IS IN CONTROL.

 

Keynotes – April, 2020

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Wow! Would you have believed someone six months ago if they claimed we would be shut-down like this? Holy Week with Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter sure aren’t going to be the same this year. I was working on the bulletins for Maundy Thursday and Good Friday today and trying to imagine how we reproduce the emotions that arise in these services over the internet. Maundy Thursday without communion? Good Friday without extinguishing the lights? Be sure to watch for our emails with the audio files or go to Youtube.com and search for GraceLCHayward for the video version to see how this turns out.

Last week I changed the sign at St. Peter’s to “Be still, and know I am God.” Psalm 46:10 It was interesting to have a discussion with a regular neighborhood visitor who said the message “was, was, was, disturbing.” I told him that some people see it that way while others see it as comforting. “It’s not too comforting yet” was his response. I had the opportunity to tell him that we can also see it as God saying, “Calm down; be still; I’ve got this.” He wasn’t ready for that. Are you? With all that God is accomplishing through this situation we can be more confident than ever we see Him at work.

I was reading through Luke recently and hit “The Kingdom of God is near you.” Luke 10:9 God and His Kingdom have arrived! You are a part of that Kingdom and we all have the joy to share God’s love. Sometimes, like this current pandemic, things don’t look so good. It didn’t look good when God sent His Children into Babylon either. But God was at work to draw His people back. Sometimes it takes drastic action to accomplish His will. I find it particularly interesting that this is coming to a climax during Lent. Let’s do some self examination, repentance, and turn our hearts and lives fully to the work of the Lord and watch as He accomplishes miracles beyond what we have ever seen.

You heard me on Sunday repeat an example from the story of “The Little Engine that could.” You remember, “I think I can. I think I can…” Pastor Lange added a great touch for me. “God isn’t looking for little engines who say ‘I think I can’ He’s looking for little engines who say…’I can’t.’ Are we ready to repent and turn to God for His forgiveness? Do we need to be in control?

May God bless us as we look to Him this Lenten Season.

Pastor Oatman

Ministry Moments – April, 2020

Greetings members and friends,

It is March 30th, 2020 and we are all confined. It is difficult for many of us, we can’t do what we normally do. We can’t see our friends and families. We aren’t free to go to the grocery store as much as we may like. Our meals are at home, no way to go out for a special meal at a restaurant and let someone else serve you. We may be getting tired of the same walls with the same paintings, pictures and then there are the same old programs on TV and we are coming up on reruns, oh boy, that’s something to not look forward to.

This is not the first time in history that people have been placed in seclusion or confined to a place. It isn’t the first time in history that people can’t get out and walk around freely and greet friends on the street. God has allowed many of His people to experience this in the past, and it may happen again. Think about Anne Frank and her family confined to small quarters above a warehouse. It was Anne and her family, father, mother and sister and the Van Daan family, mother, father and son. They were confined with nowhere to go, they weren’t able to get out for fresh air like we can, and were completely dependent upon others to bring them food. (Amazon, Doordash etc.) Then there were those confined to concentration camps during the holocaust. They had no control and very little food or warmth. Paul spent time in prison numerous times. David spent time running from Saul, separated from people and hiding in caves. Then there is Pastor’s favorite confinees, Noah and his family of 7. On the Ark during the 40 days and 40 nights and then for about a year after while the Earth dried up enough for them to disembark.

So the good Lutheran question is “What Does This Mean?” This means we will get through this. We will make it to the next adventure He has planned for us. We aren’t alone; God was with the people before us and He is with us now. In every situation God is right there with us. [Matthew 28:20]  He understands what we are going through and He will give us the strength and courage to get through this just like He did with Noah and the others.

When this is all over and we can get back to what we knew as normal, God will still be with us and we will have new experiences that have seasoned our lives and to tell stories about; new things we learned, and we will have grown. Use this time to study God’s Word, to talk to friends you may not have had “time” to talk to. Call them on the phone and spend 10 minutes talking to them. Spend some special time in prayer and meditation. Enjoy those meals at home, set your table with the good china and share a candle light meal with your loved ones. Take this time to get reacquainted with those you love and care about.

May God bless and keep you all till we can meet again. And when we do meet again, we will be free to shake hands, give hugs and sit next to each other. What a wonderful time that is going to be. I look forward to that.

You are all in our prayers and thoughts and we will be talking with you as this goes on.

In His love and service,

Debbie Oatman